New Zealand is supporting an Australian initiative that will see indigenous people better connecting with each other to improve the management of natural resources, Environment Minister Amy Adams announced today.
The International Indigenous Land and Sea Managers Network was launched by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Brazil today.
“New Zealand believes it can contribute to the success of this new network by drawing on our wealth of experience in land and sea management by Māori, and the joint activities undertaken by Māori and the Government,” Ms Adams says.
The network will provide a way for indigenous peoples to come together to share experiences and learn from each other on managing natural resources. There is no similar mechanism globally.
“Māori are significant owners of land and marine resources. As well as their experience in the economic development of these, Māori have an important guardianship role.
As Māori and the Government reach settlements under the Treaty of Waitāngi, iwi are becoming formally engaged in the management of public protected lands, coastlines and oceans.
“We have a growing pool of capable and experienced iwi/ Māori resource and environmental practitioners working alongside regulators, developers and operators in sustainable resource development and management.
“For example, New Zealand’s national environmental regulatory authority has a statutory Māori advisory group to advise its Board and statutory decision-makers on matters of policy, process and decision-making from a Māori perspective.
“New Zealand is keen to participate in the work of this new international network. We hope we can contribute to maintaining healthy biological diversity and resilient ecosystems. These underpin robust economies, human health, poverty alleviation, and sustainable livelihoods.
“Traditional knowledge, local practices and cultural connections are important in sustainable use of the world’s biodiversity.
“New Zealand has been active in conducting exchanges with Australia over the management of protected landscapes, particularly National Parks.
“This programme being launched by Australia continues this useful work and will provide new opportunities for sharing knowledge and ideas more widely.”